Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Visual Art and Broadside

Julie Demoff-Larson
Think about your favorite poem or a poem you wrote. Now visualize the imagery in the poem. Can you create a piece of art based on that imagery?
It isn’t a far jump from the poetic form into the visual arts. They go hand in hand and a collaboration of the two can produce a powerful statement. This partnership is called visual poetry. The poet/artist takes images out of the poem and onto a canvas in a multitude of forms. It can take on the form of collage, sculpture, or multi-media that visually replicates themes, subjects, and even the process of the poet. However, a poet may be inclined to create an art piece that does not draw from a word or phrase pulled from the poem, but instead offer an artistic piece that conjures up alternative meanings or connotations.
Certain forms of poetry already rely heavily on visual aspects such as concrete and alter poetry, along with the father of experimental poetry, e.e. cummings.
Buffalo Bill's
               who used to
               ride a watersmooth-silver
        and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
        he was a handsome man
                             and what i want to know is
        how do you like your blueeyed boy
        Mister Death
– e.e. cummings
Broadsides are a form of visual art that is regaining popularity with the resurgence of book arts. Broadsides are traditionally print publications on large sheets of paper that are printed only on one side. Think in terms of the penny-press or “The Declaration of Independence” as reference. Small press publishers and journals are turning to broadsides for aesthetic value and supply cost savings. However, broadsides are labor extensive because, unlike contemporary printing methods, they require manual settings of wood type that fills every inch of the paper with poetry. The outcome of each poster is unique and flawed in some capacity, yet beautiful for those same reasons. Because they are labor intensive, smaller individual broadsides that serve one poem with complimentary art have become an attractive way to keep the tradition alive. Smaller forms don’t have to be type-set but can actually be handmade using a variety of materials. Many poets use this visual art form to promote their work, which places them in a more active role in the arts community as galleries seek out these art forms to show. Give it a try.  Experiment and maybe you will find your niche. 

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